UK & World News

  • 7 January 2013, 17:08

Reg Dean: Britain's Oldest Man Dies At 110

Britain's oldest man, who has died at the age of 110 years and 63 days, has been described as an "inspiration" who will be "greatly missed".

Reg Dean passed away peacefully with friends at his bedside at the Waltham House assisted living apartment in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, where he resided for the past seven years.

His son Christopher Dean said his father had only ever wanted "to make a difference" to the lives of people less fortunate than himself.

Mr Dean, a former minister, was heavily involved in charity work throughout his life and completed a sponsored walk from Nottingham to Derby at the age of 90.

Later, he set up a Fairtrade store in his downstairs lounge, when he still lived at home, calling the franchise Traidcraft - it became Traid Links and continues to successfully operate in Wirksworth to this day.

Christopher Dean also said his father had told him he had no fear at the prospect of his death.

He said: "He told me he wasn't at all scared. He said to me once 'I am living under a sentence of death - but I intend to take a long time about it."'

Helen Hart, Locality Manager for Housing 21 which runs Waltham House, said: "We are very sad to hear of the death of Reg Dean. He was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed."

Christopher Dean said faith had been a key part of his father's life, and one of the principles he had always credited with his long life.

However, his son also said Mr Dean, who died on Saturday, had always believed an "elixir" given to him in India may have played a hand in his longevity.

"A friend of my father's said he would like to give him an elixir to drink, which he said would mean he would suffer no illness until he was over 100. It was foul-tasting, but of course he never thought not to drink it - he just did.

"The only real illness my father then had was the infection last year, which left him bed-ridden and which eventually got him."

Born in the Potteries in Tunstall, Staffordshire, on November 4, 1902, Mr Dean would live to witness 24 British prime ministers and survive two World Wars. He served as an Army chaplain in Burma in the Far East in World War Two.

A man of God, he returned from the war and ministered in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, then in 1947 moved to Derbyshire where he was the minister for three churches, including the parish of Wirksworth.

In 1958 he became a teacher at Herbert Strutt School in Belper, Derbyshire, where he worked for 10 years. He was also a founder member of the Derby Playhouse Theatre in the 1950s.

He was a minister with both the Church of England and later the United Reform Church, only retiring at the age of 80. He became Britain's oldest man in June 2010 after the death of Stanley Lucas, aged 110, of Cornwall.

Mr Dean is survived, from his second marriage to wife Yvonne, by his son Christopher, 62, band leader with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, and grandsons Matthew Dean, 27, and Oliver Dean, six.

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